Honda Hawk 11: Rocking new café racer revives the spirit of the 60s

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Honda have previewed a new Hawk 11 ahead of an official unveiling at the 2022 Tokyo Motorcycle Show.

Despite its café racer styling, the Hawk 11 is based on Honda’s new NT1100 tourer, itself derived from the frame and engine of the Africa Twin adventure bike.

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While a 238kg touring bike might not seem the ideal basis for such a sporty model like the Hawk 11, the SOHC ‘Unicam’ engine developed for the Africa Twin was made specifically to be compact and light to boost that model’s off-road ability, and the same benefits are just as welcome on sports bikes.

Honda Hawk 11 rear

Detailed specifications have yet to be announced, but it’s clear the engine is essentially the same 101hp, 77lb.ft unit used in the NT1100 and Africa Twin, even using the same catalytic converter and front exhaust section, albeit with its own, upswept end can, adding cornering clearance.

A custom version of the Hawk 11, with a chrome Moriwaki silencer and different rear-sets, was also revealed, and the slimmer end can is a clear visual improvement over the bulky standard unit.

Like the engine, the steel semi-double-cradle frame appears to be directly from the Africa Twin and NT1100, with the NT’s swingarm at the back. The NT1100 also donates its 17in wheels, with 180/55 rear and 120/70 front rubber.

Honda Hawk 11 headlight and café racer fairing

The forks, however, are new – still Showa SFF-BP units, but redesigned to suit the Hawk. Similarly, the Nissin radial calipers appear to be slightly larger than those on the NT1100, despite grasping identical 310mm discs.

The styling is, of course, completely new. Where the NT1100 has a bulkier, stronger rear subframe than the Africa Twin, the Hawk appears to revert to the adventure bike’s lighter version, sitting under a stepped seat unit.

Ahead sits a new fuel tank and of course that distinctive bullet fairing, clearly taking its inspiration from Honda’s CB4 Interceptor concept bike from 2017.

Honda Hawk 11 cockpit

Fronted by a circular it also features unusual, dropped mirrors and houses a straightforward set of LCD instruments, with a single circular gauge containing all the readouts, flanked by an array of warning lamps.

While the Hawk 11 is certain to reach production, there’s no official word on price or when it will be available and it’s also not currently planned to be sold in Europe, although with a Euro5-spec engine that could change, especially if feedback on the new machine is positive.

Given the Africa Twin and NT1100 basis, and the stripped-back specs, it’s unlikely to be more expensive than those models, which cost £13,049 and £11,999 respectively as and when it does make it here.

Ben Purvis

By Ben Purvis